Kapilas Bhuyan

The three things that I wouldn’t speak about the latest Odia film Trikanya are; it’s an above 75% benchmark pathbreaking cinema in Odisha, very well designed and well enacted with strings of stories together based on women issues, because the film as such proves to be in that category.

I wouldn’t even speak about the stories as that will prove to be a spoilsport in hooking the curiosity of the audience, for those who haven’t seen the film yet.

As they say, Trikanya is an anthology film, I agree, but it is not a new situation in filmmaking. Way back in 1961 Satyajit Ray had made ‘Tin Kanya’ based on three different stories on women written by Rabindranath Tagore. Again, renowned filmmaker Adoor Gopal Krishnan has made ‘Naalu Pennungal’ (Four Women) in 2007 based on four different stories by Thakazhi Sivasankar Pillai. This trend of stringing together multiple stories in a single body of cinema gained ground in India, particularly in the new millennia with Bollywood flicks like ‘Bombay Talkies’ (2013), ‘Lust Stories’ (2018) and ‘Ajeeb Dastan’ (2021), etc. However, this Bollywood trend has been a pick from the European cinema like Zrinko Ogresta’s ‘Here’ (2003, Croatia/Herzegovina). The brightest example of anthology film is the popular Spanish film ‘Wild Tales’ (2014) by the Argentine filmmaker Damian Szifron who has put together six stories having the common strings of catharsis, violence and vengeance, the common characteristics of Western urban society.

Having said that what I mean vis-a-vis ‘Trikanya’ is that at least it initiates the trend of making anthology film in Odia filmmaking landscape. Kudos for that to the director Anupam Pattnaik and the production team.

The film focuses on three stories – Part – I)what happens after having human qualities to an AI generated companion doll-girl whose primary purpose is to provide pleasure, Part – II)what a married woman is capable of who suffers from acute family violence, and Part – III) where it leads to fulfill the desire of a woman to achieve motherhood.

As we are now living in a highly developed technological era, a story surrounding an AI generated pleasure providing companion-doll is quite entertaining, however, serves as a metaphor for women those who are married and living the life like mechanized dolls, and thus, the Part – I of the film is quite thought provoking. The Part – II narrates the story of vengeance in a very intelligent way of which today’s women are capable of – the men shouldn’t forget this fact. Part – III of the film is the most heart wrenching as it delineates the fact that where a strong desire to achieve motherhood can lead!

Most viewers will agree with me that Odia cinema today largely suffers from bad acting. It has a reason for that. Due to lack of proper training in the field most actors have evolved from the churning of Television, where memorizing the dialogue lines and speaking it out fluently, without any thought or feelings is considered as good acting. At least ‘Trikanya’ is not suffering from that bad acting syndrome despite having many TV actors to enact the characters. Barsha Pattnaik in Part – III as the lead character has come up with a commendable performance. Nivy on the other hand in Part – I has also performed well as a mechanized and thoughtless doll. Shradha in Part – II as the sufferer has enacted moderately well with her realistic delivery of dialogues. But all credit goes to the director Anupam for handling his actors to get the best out of them.

All the male actors; Sukant Rath, Sijan Mahapatra, Nishant Majithia, Parth Ray, Manoj Mishra and Aman, etc. have performed well. As per my observation Sukant and Manoj have performed their best so far. There are minor shortcomings in enactment, however, those can be overlooked when the overall outcome of the film is excellent.

The screenplay by Manas Padhiary and Anupam Pattnaik is tight and well-balanced.

Overall, the stories are visually well narrated, and give a surprise with an O. Heneryan twist at the end. The visual delineation by the cinematographer Deepak Kumar is very much noticeable in the film.

The background music is not overpowering contrary to the usual practice in Odia cinema which gives the scope to the viewers to be engulfed with the emotion of the characters. Thus, music director Priyabrata Panigrahy has really scored good background music for the film.

Thus, I wouldn’t hesitate to give a rank of 4-star out of five to the film, and sincerely recommend Odia viewers to watch ‘Trikanya’ which they will enjoy for sure.

(The writer is a Senior Journalist and National Award-winning Filmmaker. Views are personal)